News / Asia

    Report: Deal Reached in China Media Censorship Protest

    Security guards stand near protest banners and flowers are laid outside the headquarters of Southern Weekly newspaper in Guangzhou, Guangdong province January 7, 2013. Security guards stand near protest banners and flowers are laid outside the headquarters of Southern Weekly newspaper in Guangzhou, Guangdong province January 7, 2013.
    x
    Security guards stand near protest banners and flowers are laid outside the headquarters of Southern Weekly newspaper in Guangzhou, Guangdong province January 7, 2013.
    Security guards stand near protest banners and flowers are laid outside the headquarters of Southern Weekly newspaper in Guangzhou, Guangdong province January 7, 2013.
    VOA News
    Government officials and journalists at a newspaper in southern China are reported to have reached a tentative deal to end a week-long standoff over government media censorship.

    Though many details of the agreement remain unclear, reports said editors who had gone on strike have agreed to return to work and will publish the next edition of the Southern Weekly as usual on Thursday.

    Quoting sources close to the negotiations, some reports said staff who walked off the job would not face punishment and the government would agree to loosen press controls that many journalists saw as excessive.

    Doug Young, a journalism professor at Fudan University in Shanghai, says that the apparent concessions were likely the best possible outcome for the journalists.

    "I would call it maybe a small victory, because it doesn't sound like they won any concrete concessions," says Young. "Getting this sort of a broader more vague promise probably represents the best they could have hoped for in this particular instance."

    The dispute began last week when censors blocked an editorial urging political reform, and replaced it with one praising the Communist Party. It soon turned into a nationwide online protest against China's strict media censorship, with celebrities and other public figures expressing their support for the paper.

    On Wednesday, a small group of protesters gathered for a third straight day outside the Southern Weekly in Guangzhou to protest censorship. One of the protesters, Xiao Qingshan, said he wants wider reforms to the country's media.

    "We want freedom of speech to air our real voice," he says. "If we always have censorship and the media face shutdown every day, the media become a tool to cheat the people. Is there any hope for our country?"

    • A supporter of the Southern Weekly newspaper in a wheelchair chants slogans in front of police officers near the newspaper's office in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, January 10, 2013.
    • A protester is taken away by plainclothes police officers and placed in a jeep near the office of Southern Weekly newspaper in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, January 10, 2013.
    • Leftists carrying portraits of the late Chinese leader Mao Zedong demonstrate outside the office of the liberal Southern Weekly newspaper in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, January 9, 2013.
    • Police separate a supporter of the Southern Weekly from confronting leftists protesting outside the office of the liberal newspaper in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, January 9, 2013.
    • A police officer walks past supporters of Southern Weekly demonstrating outside the office of the liberal newspaper in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, January 9, 2013.
    • Demonstrators hold banners outside the headquarters of Southern Weekly newspaper in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, China, January 8, 2013.
    • Demonstrators hold banners, portraits of China's late Chairman Mao Zedong, and Chinese national flags next to police outside the headquarters of Southern Weekly newspaper, January 8, 2013.
    • A man lays a bouquet of chrysanthemums in front of the headquarters of Southern Weekly newspaper, January 7, 2013.
    • Demonstrators gather along a street near the headquarters of Southern Weekly newspaper, January 7, 2013.
    • Security guards stand near protest banners and flowers are laid outside the headquarters of Southern Weekly newspaper, January 7, 2013.


    On Tuesday, minor scuffles broke out between free-speech protesters and Communist Party supporters, who carried red flags and posters of Chairman Mao.

    The protesters called for the resignation of Tuo Zhen, the provincial propaganda chief, who they blamed for changing the editorial and overseeing other strict censorship measures. Many observers said Beijing was unlikely to make such a huge concession.

    Any possible concessions made by the government under the tentative agreement remain unclear, partly because Southern Weekly staff have reportedly been told not to discuss the case with foreign media. When contacted by VOA, staff at the paper's Beijing and Guangzhou offices said they were not in a position to discuss the situation.

    The controversy has also reportedly widened to include another paper with a progressive reputation. Several unconfirmed reports suggest Dai Zegeng, the editor of the Beijing News, resigned after being forced to publish a state media editorial blaming the controversy on "external activists."  Although the Beijing News did publish the editorial, it was placed near the back of the paper.

    There were other signs suggesting Beijing had no intention of handing the rebel journalists any broad concessions. A leaked Central Propaganda Department directive circulating online suggests that "hostile foreign forces" were responsible for the dispute, and insisted that government control of the media is an "unwavering basic principle."

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: ARVIND KUMAR from: PATNA
    January 10, 2013 5:40 PM
    Ah , if only the Indian media were to be as intrepid!

    by: Jonathan Huang from: canada
    January 09, 2013 10:34 PM
    Tell me VOA has no censorship, I can post any comments and anything I want.
    Now you get something?
    In Response

    by: Wangchuk from: NYC
    January 11, 2013 10:32 AM
    Well Mr. Huang's comment got posted, didn't it? Mr. Huang is a 50 Cent Party member who frequently posts pro-CCP messages on VOA and his comments get posted. If I try to post anti-CCP or pro-Tibetan freedom messages on Xinhua, Peoples Daily or Global Times they either don't get posted or are deleted. Once again the CCP has failed in its arguments. The CCP is a one-party dictatorship and China, Tibet & E. Turkestan won't be free until the CCP is gone.

    by: Anonymous
    January 09, 2013 4:50 PM
    we need freedom to express our opinions

    by: Mark Newham from: Atlantis
    January 09, 2013 3:30 PM
    Shame on all involved in this story. The journos for caving in. The Chinese government for making them... and for proving my prediction in my book 'Limp Pigs' - the inside story of the Chinese censorship machine - accurate. Experience of the internal workings of the machine led me to predict that things for the Chinese media will get worse - a lot worse - before they get better and that we won't see any improvement until the old guard goes. So don't hold your breath for big imminent changes. Sad to be proved right.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora